You would think that using a washing machine is pretty basic and pretty similar everywhere. If you can take care of your clothes in your home country, logically you can handle this kind of chores in any countries. Well let me tell you something, you would think wrong! You see in Europe we only have washing machines with horiozontal-axis ! They can be top or front loader depending on the size of your place, if you want to put it under a counter etc… So far I only used them and never had any issues! They are pretty simple and straightforward to use.
But that is the beauty about living in another country because all the things you took for granted or you thought you knew can be challenged even when it comes to laundry! Actually I moved to a new house a couple of days ago and I realised that the house was equipped with an American style top loader (with vertical axis)… very popular in US and Canada… and considered as evil in France (I am not even sure you can find those in my country)!
Why evil? First, they are said to ruin your clothes! Maybe it is just a legend because I have some American and Australian friends here and their clothes look perfectly fine to me 😉 But still… it is strange for me, I mean take a closer look at it, there is a big plastic pipe with rigid tails (called agitator) right in the middle where you are going to put your clothes…weird… I strongly advise to use a filet for your underwears if you don’t want to see your favourite panties dancing around on this plastic agitator thingie like a striper on a poll stick! Second thing, it does not heat the water (contrary to Europe) the hot water comes directly from the tap so good luck if you need to wash cotton sheets at 60-90C, I assume it is impossible. I have heard that they are not ecologic because they use so much water and the spin cycle is so slow which can be an issue during winter time where you can’t put your clothes to dry outside…. But one of their assets seems to be that you can wash bigger amounts of clothes at the same time (I am not convinced so far) but maybe I did it wrong…
My first attempt using it was not very successful because I was given the wrong informations OR I got it wrong (it happens to me a lot, remember English is not my mother tongue so sometimes I think I understand and obviously I don’t). Anyway I thought that the detergent had to be poured in the cup on the top of the plastic pipe. At the beginning everything looked ok and the cool thing is that you can open the washing machine when it is working and it does not stop (contrary to Europeans ones) and it is funny (or weird) because it is like the washing machine is literally peeing water on your clothes… I know… not glamorous!
Well I learnt the hard way that the cup was obviously not dedicated to detergent since bubbles started to come from the evacuation hole on the floor. I panicked a little bit because I did not know what was going wrong exactly. I switched it of, I mopped and did some researches on the internet to discover that the cup is NOT for the detergent but for the softener! In this kind of machine, you have to remove the top of the agitator and pour the detergent inside it and then replace the cup on the top and pour softener into it if you wish to! During the cycle, at a specific time, the vibration of the machine will “force” the cup to release the softener… I swear it is easier than it looks like! Thank god, thanks to internet now, it is easy to find videos of people using their washing machine and see how it works exactly, so if you are curious to see what does an American style top loader look like and how it works, have a look at this educative video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT5la5GdNZA
“Laundry day” is never fun, especially when it turns into a bubbles circus and you end up mopping and praying it does not expand! I hope this post will be educative and help foreigners to use their top loader washing machine! Good luck and don’t worry for me, now I am an expert at it haha!